NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Barry Trotz hopes his Predators can learn from an ugly win.
Patric Hornqvist scored the winner on a power play 5:13 into the third period to lift Nashville to a 4-3 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
Mike Fisher, Shea Weber, and Craig Smith each had a goal and an assist for Nashville, which has won three of four.
“It was a frustrating game,” Trotz said. “I would probably say that game we were probably the most sloppy we’ve been in all the games this year; not real detailed, making poor judgment errors all over the ice, just not real sharp tonight. But we found a way to win and that’s part of learning to win.”
Jonathan Juberdeau, Marcel Goc, and Matt Gilroy scored for Florida. The Panthers have lost five of their last six.
With the game tied 2-2 after two periods, Smith and Hornqvist scored early in the third period for the Predators.
Florida goaltender Jacob Markstrom stopped a shot by Gabriel Bourque, but Smith went to the net and was able to fight through traffic and poke the rebound in for his first goal of the season at 1:22.
“I just crashed the net,” Smith said. “I just went to the net. We’ve been harping all camp and through the beginning of the season here, going to the net hard. I did that and I was rewarded.”
Less than four minutes later, Hornqvist struck on the power play with a nice individual move from the right side.
“That’s the difference in a hockey game,” Florida coach Kevin Dineen said. “It is something that we’re trying to take out, those mistakes, and we had a tough backcheck and a goal that shouldn’t get scored. I don’t fault the compete effort; I think that’s something that we’ve talked too much about, but that certainly is part of our game and has to be part of our identity every night to give ourselves a chance.”
Weber scored the game’s first goal at 9:23 of the opening period.
Fisher had the puck on the right side and slid a pass to Weber at the centre of the blue line. The Nashville captain one-timed the puck by Markstrom for his first goal of the season.
“We made it hard on ourselves tonight,” Weber said. “We didn’t play very well, we just found a way to win though. That’s what you need to do sometimes.”
Florida tied the game at 1 early in the second period when Huberdeau stickhandled through the Nashville defence before beating Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot.
The 2013 Calder Trophy winner has three goals in his last four games.
Fisher gave Nashville the lead again at 12:48 of the second, but former Predator Marcel Goc tied it less than a minute later, beating Rinne from the right side in close.
“It wasn’t the start to the third that we wanted to have; they scored two in the first five minutes,” Goc said. “Overall, I think it was a tight game; it was pretty even.”
Fisher and Hornqvist are the only Predators with more than one goal on the season.
Gilroy drew the Panthers within one at 11:37 of the third, but they could not forge their third tie of the game.
NOTES: After allowing the first goal in their first four games, Nashville has scored first in consecutive games. … Nashville C David Legwand played his 900th career NHL game, all with the Predators. … Florida C Nick Bjugstad appeared in his first game of the season since sustaining a concussion in early September. … Goc played 124 games for Nashville in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons.